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Berger Blog

Expanding the discussion of Generatonal issues in organizations, Leadership, and Individual & Professional Growth.

Do we feel it yet?

Sunday, April 29, 2007

“Transformation of an enterprise begins with a sense of crisis or urgency. No institution will go through fundamental change unless it believes that it is in deep trouble and needs to do something different to survive.

Lou Gerstner, former CEO of IBM speaking at Harvard Business School

All we can do is provide you with a framework, made of up some of the structure and supports you need to be successful in the future, but you need to build that future yourself. No one else can do it for you and the sooner you are able to take responsibility for that building, the sooner your future will become your present.

So what is it
that prevents us from seeing the need for the changes that is sitting right in front of us. In the US, the needs couldn’t be any more plainly visible. Public health care and gun control systems that allow for a person to be armed – both psychologically and ballistically – with the weaponry to senselessly kill 32 people and affect thousands, if not millions, of people. A federal budget, national debt, and trade deficit that are more out of balance than any other time in history. An educational system that as American kids falling further and further back relative to our new global marketplace neighbours (or competitors, depending on how you want to think about things.

What is needed is the kind of courageous leadership that can’t be done by one person acting in isolation. Those days are over. Visibility and scrutiny are too intense. Expectations are incredibly high, but so is the level of skepticism. Middle managers and professionals in their 30s and early 40;s want to be enabled. More seasoned employees and leaders want to be respected and valued. The youngest employees want to be inspired and included, but also let and taught with a degree of respect that many older colleagues think is premature. The job leading at the top of this melange of styles, wants, needs, and expectations is difficult one. It’s a challenge that is really beyond the capacity of most leaders in our time. But there is a way through. It’s a way of collaboration, of sharing the control and the power, the spotlight and the spoils. The challenge now is to find ways to accept the reality of the urgency we are facing and the need to look for a new way to lead and succeed. Until that happens, slipping further back and moving further to the margins are the only changes that will happen.

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posted by Michael Berger, 8:46 PM | link | 0 comments |
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